CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. ‒ Croton-on-Hudson's popular Harry Chapin Run Against Hunger likely wouldn’t reach its lofty fund-raising heights if it weren't for the efforts of one man.
For more than 15 years, long-time Croton resident Sam Colombo raised as much as a quarter of the Harry Chapin Run Against Hunger's proceeds. The Harry Chapin Memorial Run Against Hunger raised $30,000 in 2011, and organizers are hoping to beat that total this Sunday.
Nobody's counted exactly how many years Colombo's been involved in the race, but estimates are he's raised well over six-figures, $125,000 all-told.
Colombo became involved in the race approximately 19 years ago, after suffering a head injury in a car accident in 1990. Colombo's wife, Karen Colombo, said, "Before that accident he never would have thought about doing anything like this. After that accident he became a different person. One of his fiends was sick and he did it in honor of him," she said about the fundraising. "He thinks about people that passed and he does it in their memory," she said.
He's raised $7,212 so far this year, Karen Colombo said, but his best year ever was after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when he raised $10,269.
"He starts around July, and he sits out. He used to walk the town. He sits out in front of stores, like the Black Cow, the bagel shop, Grouchy Gabe's," she said. "Some people just stop him on the street because they haven't run into him, or they run into me and they give me the money," Karen Colombo said.
The event begins on Old Post Road South, and ends in front of Croton-Harmon High School. Walkers and runners will travel village streets from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The race will close some Croton streets for between a half-hour and three hours. Click here for a list of road closures provided by the Village of Croton.
"So far, we are doing good, what we're very encouraged about is the number of entries in the walk. As of two days ago, it was 100 percent over last year," said Jud Ramaker, race organizer, about this year's race participation.
In its 32nd year, the race donates to local causes, donates to local causes, like the Cortlandt Emergency Food Bank and the Croton Caring Committee, and recently, an orphanage in Mozambique.